276 THE GAY GENIUS mixed with celery and other vegetables. Because of lack of dry fire- wood, people had cold meals and many of them had bloated stomachs. "I have seen this with my own eyes; it is not hearsay. I expect an epidemic and corpses on roadsides between spring and summer." Su Tungpo left. Then the famine came, and people died. It is harcf to believe that when Su returned to the capital, he was actually impeached for "exaggerating famine conditions". But saving the people from hunger and starvation became an issue for politicians tOf1 throw someone they feared out of power. As far as the imperial govern- ment was concerned, there was no famine in the capital. Half the population of the lake district had not died yet. That year, back near the capital at Yingchow, Su Tungpo was to watch the effect of the famine from north of the Yangtse river when famine refugees, after abandoning their homes and trudging five hundred miles driven by hunger, reached his district. But the failure of crops in 1091 was to have worse consequences yet. The next year it became a disaster.